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Welcome to Durham University's Common Awards website


New Foundation Award: Invitation for Proposals

(19 May 2017)

Foundation Award in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Earlier this year Ministry Division proposed to introduce a new Common Awards programme: a 60 credit Level 4 undergraduate Foundation Award. The programme has been developed by Ministry Division in response to requests from a number of TEIs who would like to offer a Level 4 part-time programme to increase accessibility and encourage greater diversity in student recruitment. The proposed new programme has the support of the Common Awards Management Board.

The proposed new programme has been considered by the University’s Quality and Standards Sub-Committee (QSSC). QSSC agreed to approve the programme, and proposed that the title of the award should be ‘Foundation Award in Theology, Ministry and Mission’. The following documents were submitted to QSSC:

University Approval

While the programme has been approved, we have yet to draft the Core Regulations for the programme (which will need to be approved by QSSC), and we will be presenting the proposal to Senate and Council in June/July 2017. Once final approval has been granted, we will be amending the validation contract between Durham University and Ministry Division to reflect the addition of this new programme and the expansion of the suite of Common Awards programmes. 

Invitation to submit new programme proposals

In anticipation of final approval being granted, we are inviting approved TEIs to start work on preparing their proposals to introduce the new Foundation Award in Theology, Ministry and Mission. As the Foundation Award is based on a subset of modules that have been approved already within the Common Awards Scheme, and as the Foundation Award differs from the CertHE only in terms of breadth (rather than depth), we will be using a more streamlined approval process for TEIs to introduce the Foundation Award. 

Submitting a proposal

If your TEI would like to introduce the new Foundation Award, please send us the following:
1 the programme regulations for the Foundation Award;
2 the curriculum mapping document for the Foundation Award;
3 the module overview table for the Foundation Award;
4 a brief written statement to confirm:
(a) the proposed start date for delivering the Foundation Award;
(b) that the TEI’s Management Committee supports the new programme proposal;
(c) that the TEI has a progression route from successful completion of the Foundation Award to the Certificate of Higher Education in Theology, Ministry and Mission (see the Rationale document, above).

Preparing the paperwork

In some cases, TEIs might have the above documents in place already for the CertHE. If this is the case for your TEI, you might find it easier to use those documents as a starting point for drafting the documents for the Foundation Award (e.g. TEIs may use the same module overview table for both the CertHE as for the Foundation Award; TEIs might like to adapt their programme regulations for the CertHE into a separate set of programme regulations for the Foundation Award). 

When preparing the paperwork, please refer to the programme specification for the Foundation Award in Theology, Ministry and Mission (see hyperlink above). It may help TEIs to remember, when preparing the paperwork, that our new policy on ‘learning hours’, which gives them more freedom to shape modules as they wish. Similarly, the new proposed assessment policy should come into force shortly after 2 June, and will give TEIs more freedom when choosing the assessment patterns for the modules included in their Foundation Award. Please submit all documents electronically to the Common Awards Team by Friday 14th July 2017.

Initial consideration of proposals

The Common Awards Team will review the new programme proposals as and when they are received, around our core processes and highest priority activities. We will aim to prioritise proposals that have a start date of Autumn 2017. When reviewing the proposals, we will make sure that they are aligned with the programme specification (available on the Common Awards website). We will also make sure that all TEIs who wish to offer this programme have a progression route available for every student who successfully completes the Foundation Award. 

We hope that this early invitation to submit proposals will help to avoid unnecessary delay. Please note, however, that final approval cannot be granted to TEIs until final approval of the award has been granted by the University. TEIs who wish to refer to the proposed new programme are advised to follow our normal guidance on advertising and recruiting to programmes that have not yet been approved.

More information

If you have any questions or concerns about the above, please contact us.

Common Awards Contacts


Telephone: 0191 33 43180 / 0191 33 43139